Archive for The 1970s

Great(ish) Rock Albums of 1984: Rod Stewart- Camouflage

Posted in 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on April 27, 2017 by 80smetalman

Rod Stewart has always been a top forty artist in my book. He’s had a string of hits over the past four decades, some of them I actually liked, especially during the 1970s and 80s. I confessed to this fact when I visited his 1982 “Tonight I’m Yours” album some time ago. One of those singles I like happened to be the single, “Infatuation,” from the 1984 album, “Camouflage.” The song does venture  towards the new wave/hard rock borderland and even more so with the guitar solo by Jeff Beck. That brings me to the video for the song. Rod continues his string of cheesy videos that started with “Young Turks” where everyone is dancing on the hoods of cars and carries on with “Infatuation. In this video, Jeff Beck pops up in the hotel room from out of nowhere to play his solo. I understand that Mike LeBrain has had the same problem. Whenever he stays in a hotel room, Jeff Beck shows up. To quote a title from another song on “Camouflage,” some guys have all the luck.

After the opener, “Infatuation,” things go downhill pretty fast. While, I applaud Rod Stewart for a decent single at first, with the next track, I’m ready to place a bounty on his head for his act of sacrilege. He covers the Free classic “All Right Now” and it is a totally synthed out version. If he had kept to the script set down by Free, his voice would have carried the song but with all the synthesizers, I have to say, “No Rod!” But that’s not the only cover he has destroyed. On track four, he sings a cover of the Todd Rungren classic, “Can We Still Be Friends.” Like “All Right Now” there’s nothing wrong with his voice on the song but again, the synthesizers ruin it for me. While this sacrilege isn’t as bad, it’s still bad enough that even Jeff Beck’s guitar solo can’t save it.

Jeff does improve things with a solo on the track after, “Bad For You.” This one is more in line with the opener and sounds quite good. “Heart is On the Line” is one of those pop sounding songs that isn’t bad but it’s not one I want to listen to over and over. “The title track is much more sharper. Rod’s voice takes control of it and therefore the synths that appear on it are only in the background. Plus there’s a good use of horns adding a bit of diversity. Had Jeff belted out a solo on it, it might have been my favourite track. The closer, “Trouble” typifies how unbalanced “Camouflage” is. The keyboard intro makes you feel it’s going to be a cool prog rock song only to fade away into a ballad. Now, Rod has always been able to sing a good ballad and does so here but the intro leaves me disappointed with the rest of the song.

Track Listing:

  1. Infatuation
  2. All Right Now
  3. Some Guys Have All the Luck
  4. Can We Still Be Friends
  5. Bad For You
  6. Heart is On the Line
  7. Camouflage
  8. Trouble

Rod Stewart

Rod Stewart- vocals

Jeff Beck- guitar

Jim Cregan- guitar

Robin LeMesurier- guitar

Michael Landau- guitar

Jay Davis- bass

Tony Brock- drums

Kevin Savigar- keyboards

Michael Omartian- keyboards, percussion, backing vocals

Jimmy Zavala- harmonica

Gary Herbig- saxophone

Jerry Hey, Chuck Finley, Kim Hutchcroft, Charlie Loper, Gary Grant- horns

Was “Camouflage” great? I tend not to think so, however, it could have been so if there weren’t so many synth versions of classic rock songs. The songs that are good are but others let the album down. It seems here, he was comfortable being a top forty singer.

Next post: Roger Waters- The Pros and Cons of Hitchhiking

To buy Rock And Roll Children, go to http://www.strategicpublishinggroup.com/title/RockAndRollChildren.html

Also available on Amazon, Barnes & Noble and Froogle and on sale at Foyles Book Shop in London

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

R.I.P. J Geils

Posted in 1980s, Death, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , on April 13, 2017 by 80smetalman

J Geils

2017 continues to suck as much as 2016 as another rock icon goes to the great gig in the sky. J Geils who’s band bears his name passed away today, aged 71, from what is believed to be natural causes. While the world best knows his band for the great hit, “Centerfold,” the J Geils band had a series of cool blues rock albums throughout the 1970s. The bands commercial breakthrough came in 1980 with the album that bears the title of my all time favourite J Geils band song, “Love Stinks.”

The J Geils Band

Another sad day for rock, all we can say is rest in peace, J Geils. I have always wanted to delve more into their earlier stuff, so that’s what I’ll do to pay my respects.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Great Metal Albums of 1983: KISS- Lick It Up

Posted in 1980s, Heavy Metal, Heavy Metal and the 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , on January 20, 2017 by 80smetalman

Kiss_band

Coming out of the marines in 1983, I was a much different person than when I went in four years earlier. Not only had I changed but a lot of things in the world around had changed too. Around the four month mark after becoming a civilian, while watching the TV show, “Video Rock,” a song with a vaguely sounding voice began singing a song that to me sounded rather promising. Then the programme flashed up the artist and song title and it was at this point, I learned that KISS had come out of make up and that would forever be what I would most remember 1983 for in the musical sense.

I had already warmed to KISS after hearing their previous album, “Creatures of the Night” so the song played on the video, “Lick It Up” was no surprise and I quite liked it. Therefore, KISS continued their journey back into my acknowledgement. Before that and though I never really mentioned here but have done so in other blogs, I ignored KISS during the late 1970s. Some could argue that they didn’t put out anything worthy during that time but that wasn’t it for me. I ignored them because I was going through deep religious phase back then. One of my fellow Christians stated that KISS was an anagram for Knights In Satan’s Service and I believed it. So, I avoided them on the misguided belief they were Satan worshipers. I won’t go into details here but if you want to read more about it then here it is:  https://peacefulrampage.wordpress.com/2017/01/18/my-confusion-of-religion-and-music/

I’ve heard all the talk about the unmasked 80s KISS not being the best period in their history. I won’t enter into that debate. I would be the first to admit that “Lick It Up” doesn’t quite reach the heights of classics like “Destroyer” or even “Creatures of the Night” but for me, “Lick It Up” was the right album at the right time. Plus, say what you like, but it’s better than their attempts at sounding more commercial in the early 198os.

Something I have always loved about any album is when the ‘hit’ single is not the best track on it. Although there are plenty of albums I like that are exception to this. “Lick It Up” is not the best song on the album that bears its name. There are several tracks which are better. Let’s start with my personal favourite, “Young and Wasted.” Of course the song title brought me much amusement, especially that they applied to me quite a bit during that time. However, I like the more aggressive intro this and several other songs on the album I rate higher than the title track. For “Young and Wasted,” it just seems to be done the best. On “Not for the Innocent” and “Gimme More,” I can hear the Vinnie Vincent influence on the guitar. “Dance All Over Your Face” is a really cool tune and “And on the Eighth Day” closes the album out rather well. A great majority of the songs on “Lick It Up” just seem to be in your face cool rockers. Say what you will about this album, but I quite like it.

Track Listing:

  1. Exciter
  2. Not for the Innocent
  3. Lick It Up
  4. Young and Wasted
  5. Gimme More
  6. All Hell’s Breakin’ Loose
  7. A Million to One
  8. Fist Like a Glove
  9. Dance All Over Your Face
  10. And On the Eight Day
KISS

KISS

Paul Stanley- rhythm guitar, lead vocals

Gene Simmons- bass, lead vocals

Eric Carr- drums, backing vocals

Vinnie Vincent- lead guitar, backing vocals

Vinnie Vincent would leave KISS after this album. According to which camp you belong to, he was either fired or left on his own accord. He would go onto put out a solo record which I will definitely visit when I hit 1986. As for KISS, for me, “Lick It Up” was their way completely back into my attention and they would continue to be there for a long time.

Next post: Metallica- Kill’Em All

To buy Rock and Roll Children, go to http://www.strategicpublishinggroup.com/title/RockAndRollChildren.html

Also available on Amazon, Barnes & Noble and Froogle and on sale at Foyles Book Shop in London

 

 

 

 

 

Compilation Album for 2016

Posted in 1980s, Death, Heavy Metal, Heavy Metal and the 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on January 1, 2017 by 80smetalman

Recently on Twitter, I commented that with all the great musical stars who passed on in 2016, that I wouldn’t put it past some morbid record producer to make a compilation album featuring all of them. One of my friends replied that with so many, it would have to be a box set and he’s probably right. Normally, I ‘m not a morbid person but I then thought, “Why don’t I come out with my own ideas for such an album?” Besides, if it was in the hands of some corporate record executive, their idea for the album would be totally different than mine, especially if the metal hating UK newspaper, The Sun, had anything to do with it.

In compiling such an album, I fear that had things been left to record execs, Jimmy Bain and Sandy Pearlman would have been left out totally. Jimmy would have been because he was only a bass player despite the fact that he played on all the greatest Dio albums. Sandy was simply a producer but without him, we would not have had some of the great albums delivered by both Blue Oyster Cult and The Clash. Use of semantics, the fact that Lemmy actually died in 2015, would have been used as an excuse to keep him off the album. I don’t do that because Lemmy’s death was the snowball at the top of the mountain which started the avalanche. Paul Kantner would have definitely been left out if the record producer was British but might have been included if they were American. After all, he did have a minor song writing credit on Jefferson Starship’s best known single, “Jane.”

Of course, I am tempted to exclude some too. I was never a big Prince fan. However, I didn’t hate his music. Whenever his songs came on the radio, I didn’t turn the volume up or down, nor did I change the channel. But credit where due, on the song I really like, he does shred a guitar fairly well and I remember in 1984, I fully endorsed his desire to play the role of Jimi Hendrix in a film about the guitar god.

George Michael is another problem. See, The Sun and other media have already been blubbering over how great an 80s icon he was. I can’t refute that. However, he wasn’t entirely the 1980s and the whole point of writing “Rock and Roll Children” and this blog was to rebut the belief that 80s music was entirely Wham, Michael Jackson and Boy George. We all know it wasn’t but George Michael stands as a symbol of my antagonism towards this warped view of the Golden Decade of Heavy Metal. So, I hope one can understand why I would be tempted to exclude him from my album. However, I am a better person than those at The Sun and not a corporate record executive, so I will allow one GM song onto my album. This song came out after his 1998 arrest in Los Angeles and was the springboard for a rather rude but funny joke.

Tribute Album to Musician’s Who Died in 2016

Lemmy

Lemmy

Motorhead

Motorhead

  1. Ace of Spades
  2. Killed By Death
  3. Iron Fist

175px-David-Bowie_Early

David Bowie

  1. Space Oddity
  2. Ziggy Stardust
  3. Mott the Hoople- All the Young Dudes
The Eagles

The Eagles

Glen Frey- The Eagles

Glen Frey- The Eagles

  1. Take it Easy
  2. Heartache Tonight
  3. New Kid in Town
  4. From Glenn Frey’s solo stuff:
  5. Smuggler’s Blues
  6. Sexy Girl
Jimmy Bain

Jimmy Bain

Dio

Dio

  1. Rainbow in the Dark
  2. The Last in Line
  3. Mystery
  4. Sacred Heart
  5. Sunset Superman

js

Paul Kantner- Jefferson Starship

Paul Kantner- Jefferson Starship

  1. Ride the Tiger
  2. Dance With the Dragon
  3. Stairway to Cleveland
  4. Planet Earth Rock and Roll Orchestra (Paul Kantner solo)
I never saw them but  Emerson Lake and Palmer were said to be amazing live!

I never saw them but Emerson Lake and Palmer were said to be amazing live!

  1. Lucky Man
  2. Fanfare for the Common Man
Sandy Pearlman

Sandy Pearlman

Blue Oyster Cult

Blue Oyster Cult

  1. Don’t Fear the Reaper
  2. Dancing in the Ruins
The Clash

The Clash

English Civil War

Prince

Prince

Let’s Go Crazy

George Michael

George Michael

Outside

Leonard Cohen

Leonard Cohen

Hallelujah

(I thought Leonard’s song would be the best closer)

True, my list would definitely be more metal oriented. That’s because most metal and rock acts would be passed over by a corporate record producer. Opinions will vary here and I know other songs would be chosen in place of the ones I have here, but if I had my choice. This is what it would be.

Happy New Year to all! Have a great 2017.

Next post: Suicidal Tendencies

To buy Rock and Roll Children, go to http://www.strategicpublishinggroup.com/title/RockAndRollChildren.html

Also available on Amazon, Barnes & Noble and Froogle and on sale at Foyles Book Shop in London

Great Metal Albums of 1983: Black Sabbath- Born Again

Posted in 1980s, Concerts, Heavy Metal, Heavy Metal and the 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on October 12, 2016 by 80smetalman

220px-sabbathborn

The first concert I saw at the Philadelphia Spectrum after getting out of the marines was Black Sabbath. Having heard the album they were promoting on the tour, “Born Again,” I already knew that former Deep Purple lead singer, Ian Gillan, would be fronting them. However, I still thought it was a bit strange that when they came out for the second encore, they played “Smoke on the Water.” Actually, that strange feeling lasted only for a few seconds because the song worked as did Gillan singing some of the more classic Sabbath songs. I thought he did a particularly good job on “Heaven and Hell.”

This begs the question, if Ian Gillan sounded so good for Sabbath, then why did so many of the so-called rock critics slate it and why isn’t this album considered one of their best? Let me address the second point. When I hear “Born Again,” I don’t immediately start pining for the more classic Sabbath albums like “Paranoid” or “Heaven and Hell” but I won’t put it on the same level as those more memorable albums either. It’s a great album but not a classic. As for the critics, well, what do they know?

Ian Gillan’s Deep Purple influence comes out immediately on the album. “Trashed” could have been a Purple song. At least until Tony Iommi goes into one of his trademark guitar solos in the middle of the song. Plus, I can say the same thing for “Disturbing the Priest,” although the instrumental track in between those two, “Stonehenge” tries too hard to copy “E5150.” My hypothesis here is that Tony and Geezer let Ian sing according to his style and bent their guitar and bass playing styles around the vocals. Personally, I think they do a damned fine job of it as well. This really shows through on the track “Zero the Hero.” Unlike some critic, I don’t find the song embarrassing, I quite like it, especially how Tony Iommi nails the guitar solo on it.

My favourite track on the album has to be “Digital Bitch.” I love the way, they take Gillan’s shrieks and Tony’s guitar and fuse them together. The title track is a more slower bluesier number. Black Sabbath have been doing these for years except in the past, they did it with a much heavier guitar. They don’t do that so much with this one except for the chorus. At the time, it was believed that this would be the closest Black Sabbath would come to a power ballad. Ian Gillan’s voice suits the song well but then he is definitely if not the best, one of the best vocalists in rock or metal.

Now I haven’t forgotten to mention the interesting album cover. After all, I had it on a t-shirt. I always thought it very amusing even if the American religious community didn’t. Now, I wish I still had that shirt.

Track Listing:

  1. Trashed
  2. Stonehenge
  3. Disturbing the Priest
  4. The Dark
  5. Zero the Hero
  6. Digital Bitch
  7. Born Again
  8. Hot Line
  9. Keep it Warm
Black Sabbath

Black Sabbath

Tony Iommi- guitar

Ian Gillan- vocals

Geezer Butler- bass

Bill Ward- drums

Note: Bill Ward would not tour with the band for this album. Replacing him for the tour was former ELO drummer Bev Bevan

I wonder what would have happened if Ian Gillan had stuck around with Sabbath for a few more albums. Would musical history as we know it been changed? Hard to say. As we know, Ian would leave Sabbath after this and rejoin his mates Ritchie Blackmore and Roger Glover from Rainbow and reform that band they were in together during the early 1970s. Ian Gillan might have only recorded one album with Black Sabbath but it is definitely one to remember.

Next post: Because they supported Black Sabbath when I saw them, I thought it right that it be Quiet Riot- Mental Health

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Also available on Amazon, Barnes & Noble and Froogle and on sale at Foyles Book Shop in London

 

 

 

Great Rock/Metal Albums of 1983: Rainbow- Bent Out of Shape

Posted in 1980s, Heavy Metal, Heavy Metal and the 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on October 9, 2016 by 80smetalman

220px-bent_out_of_shape_rainbow

“Bent Out of Shape” would be the last album for Rainbow as we knew them. The band would break up after the tour for the album and members would go in different directions but that’s a story for further down the line of metal history. I have heard this album called lackluster and the final nail in Rainbow’s coffin but was it that bad? I’ll be the first to admit that “Bent Out of Shape” doesn’t come up to the level of the previous Rainbow album, “Straight Between the Eyes” but I don’t think it’s a bad album one bit.

With “Bent Out of Shape,” Rainbow go towards a more keyboard dominated sound meaning it’s less hard rock than what Rainbow fans were used to. Back in the 1980s, I could see how metalheads would have found that disappointing as many were distrustful of any band who incorporated keyboards in their sound. However, David Rosenthal had been with the band for several albums and had proven himself to be a more than capable keyboardist. Proof is his efforts on the intro to “Can’t Let You Go,” strictly superb and he does smoke on “Fire Dance.” The added bonus with that song is that Ritchie Blackmore still lets you know that he can still bend the six string to do his bidding. Rainbow has always been good at the keyboard-guitar solo trade off and “Fire Dance” shows that their ability to do so hadn’t gone away. If you want further proof, listen to the two instrumentals on the album. On “Anybody There” the keyboards play a support role for Ritchie to work his guitar magic and “Snowman” is a great piece of instrumental progressive rock!

It might have been that many metalheads were put off by the single, “Street of Dreams,” which got a considerable amount of airplay on MTV before it was supposedly banned for its hypnotic clip. It would later be accused of showing bondage but that again, is for a later post. It is a commercial track without argument but it’s not bad. In fact, it’s played well. “Desperate Heart” is more of a rocker, the second hardest on the album, with “Drinking With the Devil” being the hardest.  So not everything that Rainbow had stood for for nearly a decade went out the window on the album. Besides, the closer, “Make You Move” takes things out on a hard note very well. Overall, I won’t debate that “Bent Out of Shape” is more of a commercial AOR album but I didn’t hate it then and I appreciate more now.

Track Listing:

  1. Stranded
  2. Can’t Let You Go
  3. Fool For the Night
  4. Fire Dance
  5. Anybody There
  6. Desperate Heart
  7. Street of Dreams
  8. Drinking With the Devil
  9. Snowman
  10. Make Your Move
Rainbow

Rainbow

Ritchie Blackmore- guitar

Roger Glover- bass

Joe Lynn Turner- vocals

David Rosenthal- keyboards

Chuck Burgi- drums

In spite of whether “Ben Out of Shape” is a good album, Rainbow would disappear after the album. Roger Glover and Ritchie Blackmore would go and rejoin some band they were with back in the early 1970s, you might have heard of them. Not long after, lead singer, Joe Lynn Turner would reappear with his first solo album. One thing that “Bent Out of Shape” proves was that it didn’t end the careers of the talented members who made up Rainbow.

Next Post: Black Sabbath- Born Again

To buy Rock and Roll Children, go to http://www.strategicpublishinggroup.com/title/RockAndRollChildren.html

Also available on Amazon, Barnes & Noble and Frooge and on sale at Foyles Book Shop in London

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Great Rock/Metal Albums of 1983: Thin Lizzy- Life

Posted in 1980s, Concerts, Heavy Metal, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on September 7, 2016 by 80smetalman

220px-thin_lizzy_-_life

“Thunder and Lightning” might have been the final studio album for Thin Lizzy but that didn’t mean they were in any way finished. Further along in the year, 1983, the band released the live album, “Life.” The album was recorded over a series of concerts played in September and October, predominantly taking place at the Hammersmith Odeon in London.

The closest I got to ever seeing Thin Lizzy live was seeing the tribute band, Limehouse Lizzy, in Stroud over ten years ago. It’s a shame they never came back, but I digress. Both the tribute band and this album make me regret the fact that I have never seen the actual band in concert. What I have heard in both camps here give me the impression that they would have been sensational, but no use crying over something I have no control over.

It wouldn’t have taken a computer to deduce the fact that any live album late in Thin Lizzy’s career would have been a glorified greatest hits album. Having owned their greatest hits album, (I have it on cassette), I can attest to this. Still there are some great surprises on here, starting with the fact that “Thunder and Lightning” would be the best track to open the live album or any concert. They play it just as loud and proud live, maybe more. In fact, the songs from “Thunder and Lightning” are all played rather well, “Cold Sweat” definitely gets an honourable mention here. In addition, in my mind, they pick the right songs from that album to play on this one. Saying that, I like the live version of “The Sun Goes Down.” To me it seems more sinister though it does go on even longer than on the studio version.

Of course, all the great Lizzy classics are on here and most of them are played very well live. I only have to wait to the third song to hear my all time favourite Thin Lizzy ditty and they definitely do it justice. Other notable efforts are “Emerald,” “Black Rose,” “Waiting for an Alibi,” “Hollywood (Down On Your Luck)” and if they genuinely closed their shows, with “The Rocker” like they do on the album, then it was a very wise choice indeed. A great song to go out on.

Additionally, Phil Lynott got the former Thin Lizzy guitarists to play on different numbers on the album. Gary Moore, Snowy White, Eric Bell and Brian Robertson all play on the album. I now know why “The Rocker” was such a great closer. That’s because all the guitarists mentioned as well as Sykes and Goram of course play on the final song in what Phil calls ‘The All Star Jam.” That was great to hear, it must have been mind blowing to see.

Track Listing:

  1. Thunder and Lightning
  2. Waiting for an Alibi
  3. Jailbreak
  4. Baby Please Don’t Go
  5. The Holy War
  6. Renegade
  7. Hollywood (Down on Your Luck)
  8. Got to Give it Up
  9. Angel of Death
  10. Are You Ready
  11. The Boys are Back in Town
  12. Cold Sweat
  13. Don’t Believe a Word
  14. Killer on the Loose
  15. The Sun Goes Down
  16. Emerald
  17. The Black Rose
  18. Still in Love With You
  19. The Rocker
Thin Lizzy

Thin Lizzy

Phil Lynott- bass, lead vocals

John Sykes- guitar, backing vocals

Scott Goram- guitar, backing vocals

Darren Wharton- keyboards, backing vocals

Brian Downey- drums, percussion

Guest Musicians

Gary Moore- guitar on Black Rose and The Rocker

Eric Bell- guitar on The Rocker

Brian Robertson- guitar on Emerald and The Rocker

Snowy White- guitar on Renegade, Killer on the Loose, Hollywood and The Rocker

In November of 1983, I met up with a friend who was on leave from the army after spending two years stationed in Germany. Before he left the country, he got to see Thin Lizzy’s last ever gig in Nuremberg. I don’t remember many of the details but it sounded like an amazing event. They played many of their classics more than once and “The Boys are Back in Town” three times! Boy I was jealous, still am. I have to settle for the next best thing, this live album.

Next post: Zebra

To buy Rock and Roll Children, go to http://www.strategicpublishinggroup.com/title/RockAndRollChildren.html

Also available on Amazon, Barnes & Noble and Froogle and on sale at Foyles Book Shop in London